Saturday, 13 April 2013

Week beginning April 15th - Valuable advice from James Hoffman (again)

Just before we opened Kaffeine, James Hoffman, the Director of Square Mile Coffee our coffee roaster, spent a bit of time helping us get set up and providing advice here and there. I am eternally grateful for the time he spent back then, as well as the time spent since we opened in yearly reviews and urgent phone calls on a Sunday morning when we have machine issues.

There have been a number of valuable pieces of information that he provided since then, here is one of them:

- Ensure you and your staff visit as many other cafes as possible to review and explore what others are doing, not enough people do this, they just get stuck in their own little world.

Of course in the years from 2005 to 2009, my wife and I and our friends spent loads of time doing this, going to other cafes and checking them out and looking, looking, looking. Once we opened though, James was right, it was very easy to get stuck in our own world.

The staff who work here quite often spend their days off going to other cafes and come back with stories of where they went, what they had and how it was, so we decided to combine to two and make it a bit of fun. It was called...... the assignment.

The names of thirteen London cafes were put into a hat, each staff member picked one and then was given £10 and a typed list of questions.

Describe in four words your first impression
Describe how you were greeted, how long after ordering did someone acknowledge you?
What did you order?
How long after ordering did you receive it?
List fine food items and their price points?
How would you describe the atmosphere?
How would you rate the quality of the products and why?
How would you rate the standard of service and why?
Would you go back again? Why/why not?
Overall impression in five words.

I can't express enough, how valuable an exercise this was. The staff loved it. Some went out with each other, others took their families, others just went with friends. Some of them really enjoyed their experiences, others unfortunately did not.

I met with each staff member individually after they returned to gain feedback and have a nice little chat. All of them thought it was a great exercise, all of them had really interesting points of information and experiences to tell both to me and to each other. All of them came back with a different perspective and understanding of Kaffeine and the standards, processes and procedures we have in place, as well as the levels of service we provide and all of them came back feeling prouder to work at Kaffeine then ever before. How valuable is all of that?!

When you aim to be one of the leading businesses in your industry, as James so rightly stated, you need to know what others are doing to ensure you remain a leading business. Staying in your own little bubble will not lead you to success.

I highly recommend this as an exercise for any business owner to do, send your staff out to the industry to be able to return and provide feedback of areas to improve, what others are doing, or to actually say  yes, we do a very, very good job already.

Please enjoy this weeks menu, as we have enjoyed putting it together for you.

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.50
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.70 (add 30 p for granola or yoghurt)
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 4.00
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Coffee, cherry and walnut toast 2.30
Banana bread 2.40

Porridge - Served with rhubarb and raspberry compote, chopped nuts, muscovado sugar, golden syrup or honey 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.80
Pain au chocolat 2.40
Almond croissants 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet Muffins: Strawberry and sumac 2.20
Savoury Scone: Linseed, tomato, mustard and cheddar 2.20
Cherry, coconut and chocolate friands 2.20
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 1.80
Afgan cookies 1.80

Soup: Smoked salmon, broad bean and sea aster 4.50

French retro baguettes 4.90
Ham, gherkin, red onion, dijon, gruyere, rocket
Aubergine, goats cheese, thai basil, sweet chilli

Foccacias 5.00
Chicken, brie, salsa verde, rocket
Plum tomato, mozzarella, aioli, spinach

Salads: 5.50/6.50
Virgin caesar with sloe blossom, asparagus, fresh peas and parmesan
Sweet potato roasted with chervil stems and curry leaves with a spiced tamarind dressing and pumpkin seeds
Ugli fruit, bacon, ground ivy, cardamom dressing, rocket

Tart: 4.00 or 7.50 with salad
Broccoli, chilli and blue cheese

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